There’s a new viral sensation emerging from the crevices of social media every single day, so it takes someone with true star power to keep hold of the spotlight and make a lasting career from their 15 minutes of fame. Danielle Bregoli seized the moment and refused to let her sudden burst in notoriety go to waste, capitalizing on her larger-than-life personality and a plethora of musical talents. Now known to the world as Bhad Bhabie, she’s soaring to new heights.

“[Bhad Bhabie] is just me all of the time, that’s just who I am,” Bhabie says. “Everyone thinks I’m just acting and [Bhad Bhabie] is who I play for the camera or a whole plan that I had. But this is just me 24/7 and that’s what’s gotten me to where I am. When I’m raw and I’m natural, that’s what made people realize, ‘God, she really is cool and all this stuff we like about her is genuine.’”

Photos by Travis Shinn

Photos by Travis Shinn

Bhabie’s candid side first emerged during a 2016 appearance on “Dr. Phil,” where her signature catchphrase, “Catch me outside, how ’bout that?” was born. Almost immediately after the episode aired, Bhabie pivoted and used the attention she’d gained online as a springboard for a career in hip-hop. “At first, I didn’t even realize I was going to become famous,” Bhabie says. “I was never out to get famous. For my whole life, a lot of people have thought that I’ve always wanted to try to become famous, but this was all something that just came to me. I made the best out of my situation and I’ve always loved music, so it was something I wanted to do.”

Growing up, her interest in hip-hop was fueled by listening to artists Flo Rida, T-Pain and Soulja Boy with her mom. However, she soon learned spitting bars and crafting catchy hooks isn’t necessarily as easy as the artists topping the charts make it look. “When I first started, I wasn’t really confident that I could do it,” Bhabie says. “I was working with a lot of co-writers and now, I do most of my stuff myself.

“Honestly, the first session I ever did was for ‘Hi Bich,’ and the hook was written by Trinidad James,” she continues. “That was when I was like, ‘OK, maybe I can do the verses for this,’ because initially it was just the hook. But I did the whole song and it came out great, so that’s when I realized I could do this.”

Photos by Travis Shinn

Photos by Travis Shinn

The experience proved that the Bhad Bhabie persona and her talent for rapping was in her all along. Every performer needs a little spicing up to reach their full potential, even naturally charismatic performers. “I’ve wanted tattoos for my whole life,” Bhabie says. “I used to put those little sticker tattoos on me or just draw on myself. I got my first tattoo when I was 12, so when I was of age to really get tattooed, like 14 or 15, I started not caring. When I was 13, I did have a bigger tattoo on my arm, but I used to have to sneak out to get little spots tattooed. I remember one night I snuck out to see my friends at Post Malone’s house and I got three tattoos on my leg. My mom was acting like she was going to make me get them lasered off.”

Just a few months after Bhabie began working with producers, co-writers and tattoo artists, she dropped her debut single “These Heaux.” Within minutes of the song’s release, she was breaking records. At only 14, Bhabie became the youngest female rapper to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart while also becoming the third-youngest solo artist to chart behind JoJo and Stevie Wonder. “It’s so crazy because it wasn’t my best song ever,” Bhabie says. “For that song to make me have that title, it made me even more sure that I had this. Imagine you write five songs and you’re holding onto the ones that you know are great, but you’re just testing the waters with the one that you know is good but it’s not your best. Then it goes crazy. It made me realize I could really be a successful rapper.”

Photos by Travis Shinn

Photos by Travis Shinn

Following “These Heaux,” Bhabie would go on to release “Hi Bich,” the first song she recorded in studio, less than one month later. This song would become the lead single on her debut mixtape, “15,” and earn her platinum certification. The music industry is notoriously cutthroat, so it takes more than dropping a few hit songs to keep you on top—especially when you’re coming from internet fame. Anybody can be a flash-in-the-pan with one banger, but when Bhabie received recognition and support from some of the biggest rappers in the game it proved to the world she was here to stay. 

“Lil Yachty has always supported me,” Bhabie says. “Honestly, he’s the only person who’s genuinely had my back. A lot of people in the industry do stuff to do stuff, like, ‘Oh, this person could be a good name for me,’ or, ‘I just fuck with her for right now.’ But Yachty is the only one I have no doubts about.”

Photos by Travis Shinn

Photos by Travis Shinn

Bhabie began working with Yachty after she reached out for him to perform a verse on her single “Gucci Flip Flops.” This single became her second platinum hit and put her on everybody’s radar—Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Baby, Kodak Black and Megan Thee Stallion, just to name a few. “When people wanted to be involved with me and be a part of my project, it helped me so much,” Bhabie says. “People just saw me as some little white girl who didn’t know anything about rap music. But then to have so many people fuck with me—especially my idols Kodak, Young Thug, Plies, Snoop Dogg—it was good for me. I needed that at the time.”

After gaining so much fame at such a young age, hip-hop and Hollywood could have easily swallowed Bhad Bhabie whole. Many new artists, even those who have toiled at their trade for years, struggle with the pressures put on them by their label, the press and social media. Instead of cracking under the pressure, Bhad Bhabie has gone against the grain and now more than ever, is 100 percent unfiltered.

“My new music is definitely going to be all me,” Bhabie says. “I made a lot of my own music before, but it was just about what the label liked. When you’re signed to a label, it’s all about what they want to put out. Especially being so young, I didn’t have a lot of choice in what I was doing.

Photos by Travis Shinn

Photos by Travis Shinn

“But I’m older now, I know the game a bit more and I’m being real direct,” she continues. “I say which songs I want, this is how I want them to sound and what I’m going for.”

Bhad Bhabie has yet to announce how she’ll be presenting her new music, but it’s coming. And now that she’s 18, expect to see a new and evolved rapper hit the charts. “My new music is less gimmicky,” Bhabie says. “I feel like a lot of my old music was honestly childish. I was young, I was 14 and 15. Now I’m 18 and I’m definitely going to show that I’m more mature with the stuff I’m talking about and my delivery.”

Of course, if you’re just listening to her music, you’re only getting half the story. As a member of Generation Z, Bhad Bhabie has leaned into social media more than many of her hip-hop peers and she’s made it a point to show her fans the real her. “Everyone feels like they can just judge me off of a 30-minute clip of me on a TV show or a 10-second Instagram video,” Bhabie says. “With my Snapchat show, I wanted people to get raw, everyday footage of what I go through. I never want to explain myself but I end up having to because I chose to stay in the spotlight instead of ending up as a joke or a meme. I was 13 and I didn’t know everyone was going to think they knew me or talk about me in a negative way. When people see someone 10 years younger than them making millions of dollars from just living her real life, they don’t want to accept that. So I wanted to make this show for people to realize how my life really goes.”

Photos by Travis Shinn

Photos by Travis Shinn

Bhabie didn’t stop flexing her versatility with the Snapchat show, “Bring Up Bhabie.” Part of showing the world a new side of her came when Bhabie decided to make her OnlyFans debut, just six days after her eighteenth birthday. This rocked social media and garnered the rapper a considerable amount of traffic, earning her over $1 million in just six hours. “Since I was young, I’ve been called names and told that I’m doing this and that,” she says. “I thought, ‘You know what, I might as well make money from it.’ I’m not gonna lie, I did definitely expect for it to be the biggest shit ever for the website. I figured I was one of the biggest people to do it and it was going to do amazing. But even after I made one, [the success still] shocked me.”

Bhad Bhabie has come a long way from her infamous talk show appearance. She’s broken major music records, collaborated with some of hip-hop’s finest and earned the respect of one of the most exclusionary industries on the planet. And she’s only 18, which means there’s plenty of new music and tattoos coming our way in the next few years. This is only the beginning of Bhad Bhabie’s story and if there’s one thing we know for sure, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Photos by Travis Shinn

Photos by Travis Shinn